Research Briefing: Companies Struggle to Find and Develop Sales Management Talent

Last week, I had the opportunity to join Robert Kelly, Chairman of the Sales Management Association (SMA), on a web briefing to discuss the preliminary results of a joint research study we conducted. This research, based on a survey of over 150 organizations with a combined total of almost 17,000 sales managers, revealed the current state of practices for hiring and developing top sales management talent.

In summary, we discovered that companies of all sizes are struggling to identify, hire, and develop sales managers effectively. Most look for good sales management candidates both internally and externally, but less than a third use a defined process or competency model to evaluate those candidates.

As a result, most of our survey respondents admit that their ability to predict future performance of sales manager candidates is very limited and inaccurate. There are wide gaps in the ability of organizations to measure the critical competencies required of sales managers.

The research shows a very significant opportunity for those companies that establish formal sales manager evaluation and development programs. This is a potential competitive advantage that surprisingly few organizations are pursuing today.

The SMA is compiling a final report of the survey findings and will publish it in the next few weeks. We will comment further on the final results in this blog at that time. In the meantime, you can download a copy of the briefing presentation here.

If your organization wants to hire or develop consistently top-performing sales managers, we can help – contact us for a complimentary consultation at +1 (704) 227-6500, or by email to

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